Stormy weather prevented many California residents from watching the M*A*S*H finale
M*A*S*H viewers had been waiting for the finale for ages, but some fans would have to wait just a bit longer.
Nowadays, with streaming services, people tend to forget the rush of excitement that can only be experienced when watching a television episode as it airs, particularly if that episode is meaningful in some way. The finale of M*A*S*H was a long time coming, and according to The Press Democrat, fans were willing to go all out to celebrate the series finale.
The article explains that on the night of the finale, February 28, 1983, M*A*S*H fans congregated in places like bars while televisions played, intent on watching the final episode with other people. Some also came donning Army fatigues and operating masks, with one fan wearing a gown and earrings to dress as Maxwell Klinger.
But on the night of the premiere, stormy weather plagued areas of California, and when it finally came time to watch "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," multiple areas of California had their television reception knocked out by the storm, and unfortunately missed parts of the fabled finale.
A worker for the cable company who assisted in the effort to restore reception said that he was well aware of the urgency that had plagued the situation and was quick to find solutions. He said, "We put up a temporary antenna just for M*A*S*H."
A worker for Total Television also said that the phones for their company were "ringing off the hook." and that he too was feeling the M*A*S*H finale heat. He said, "We knew we were under the gun. We know how important it is."
Luckily, the final episode of M*A*S*H is a bit longer than previous episodes of the series, which meant that there was plenty of time to rectify the situation, and many viewers were able to catch the rest of the finale once the reception was restored.
While many viewers were undoubtedly frustrated at the time with the situation, the unity of viewers coming together to watch the airing of a finale is something that is much more rare today than it was in 1983. At the very least, their annoyance, and later celebration, was shared amongst their fellow fans.